I Moved From Google-chrome To Firefox

11:49 Thu, 10 May 2012

Several weeks ago, I changed my default browser from Google-chrome to Firefox. Here's why.

I had been using Google-chrome for over a year and had been a pretty happy user. I liked the Google-chrome user interface and Google had clearly put a lot of thought into how a user interacts with their browser. Neat touches were everywhere.

I did have some niggling privacy concerns, after all Google-chrome is created by the biggest data mining company in the world, but I figured Google had too much to lose by ignoring privacy in a browser. That is especially so for a browser whose source code is available to all.

Then I discovered that Google-chrome forbids the Ghostery add-on from blocking the Doubleclick network. Ghostery is a popular add-on that prevents third-party sites from monitoring your browsing, and Doubleclick is a monitoring and advertising network owned by Google.

Apparently, Google has no problem with bending the privacy rules to advantage itself.1 Time to give Firefox a go.

I hadn't used Firefox seriously for years and was pleasantly surprised. It starts fairly quickly and is not a huge memory pig like Google-chrome. It is a little plain out of the box, but some add-ons soon fixed that.

A few months later, this is what I am running. For privacy:

  • adblock-plus, to block ads
  • ghostery, to block third-party cookies and scripts
  • noscript, to block any javascript
  • requestpolicy, to block any third-party reference
  • refcontrol, to control the referer header so that my browsing history doesn't leak to third parties, and
  • cookiemonster, to control cookies.

Then I wanted to enhance Firefox to give a good user experience like Google-chrome. These plugins did the trick:

  • add to searchbar, add new search engines to the search toolbar
  • customizable shortcuts, create your own keystroke shortcuts
  • duplicate in tab context menu, duplicate a tab
  • firegestures, similar to vimium but light-weight, uses Vim keystrokes to control the browser,
  • open link in ..., adds extra options to the right-click context menu, and
  • sessionmanager, save and load sessions by name, and keeps a history.

I now have the same facilities in Firefox that I had in Google-chrome, plus it uses about a third the memory and addresses all my privacy niggles.

(I've used the exact name of the add-ons above so you can search for them easily.)

[1] I may be attributing malice to something that is merely a by-product of how Google-chrome handles plug-ins. Google-chrome apparently does not guarantee the order that various plug-ins see the DOM, which means that other plug-ins may have applied their magic before Ghostery, thereby removing any Doubleclick references before Ghostery sees it. Occam's razor probably applies.
Categories: general, internet


  1. George     68.173.xxx.xxx
    2012-07-27 22:45

    Internet ads made long journey from some years ago when they were flashy and annoying. Now days they are confined in their respectful space, and they are triggered on your command. You actually may learn something from them. Like find out that new model of your favorite car just made it out on the market, new book to read, new movie, new app for your mobile device, new game… an idea of a good place to take your partner on vacation…
    Your article makes me wander if you ever had a partner or social life of a sort… it is understandable then.
    - Censor yourself
    - Censor yourself even more
    - Drop the fee internet idea
    - Lock the door to the outside world, and just pay and watch cable TV.


  2. Griggy     92.24.xxx.xxx
    2012-12-12 08:02

    Re George's comment.
    What planet do you live on?! Or perhaps you are in advertising? If intelligent people want to know what book to read (for example) they do their own research, not wait until they are (rudely) interrupted when doing some other task on the internet!

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